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3 Best Colleges for Ice Cream Lovers

Picture of Sam Joustra
By Sam Joustra on June, 14 2022 | 9 minute read
3 best colleges for ice cream lovers

Did you know that there are almost 4,000 colleges and universities across the country?

It’s easy to forget that fact when the same 50-100 schools get the most news and media attention. At Collegewise, we believe that there is a great fit school for every student--- even if you haven’t considered it yet! Each month on the 9th, we’ll be shining a spotlight on 9 colleges and universities that shouldn’t go overlooked in your college search. Why 9? Well, Collegewise was born in 1999 and we wanted to stick with a number that treated us well...we hope you enjoy our reviews! 


3 Best Colleges for Ice Cream Lovers 

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a college- does it have the academic program you’re interested in studying? Does the student community match your personal values? How far do you have to go to get a good ice cream cone? Whatever you’re looking for in your college experience, these three schools have enough on-campus ice cream options to satisfy any sweet tooth. And we’re betting you’ll notice the uniting academic feature that these schools share, too.  


1. Michigan State University- East Lansing, Michigan 

Michigan State has two important distinctions: First, it was founded as the premier land-grant university in the United States; and second (and maybe even more importantly), it is also home to the iconic Dairy Store on campus. At first glance, these two facts might seem unrelated- but there actually is a connection between them! As a land-grant university, MSU (originally named the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan), was established to teach scientific agriculture- think areas such as agricultural engineering, plant and animal science, and ecology. And today, many of those disciplines remain top-ranked programs nationally and globally. MSU also boasts its own Dairy Cattle Teaching & Research Center. Which is perfect, because where do you think the milk for the Dairy Store’s ice cream comes from? You guessed it- MSU’s own dairy cows!  

As a Big 10 school, Michigan State takes football very seriously- on any given fall Saturday when there’s a home game, you’ll find tens of thousands of Spartan fans tailgating all over campus before the game. In fact, my favorite tailgate spot just “happens” to be across the street from the Dairy Store. You can even order the custom flavor created in honor of football coach Mel Tucker- “Tucker’s Scoop and Score,” vanilla ice cream with ribbons of caramel and praline pecans. The Dairy Store also scoops some distinctive flavors that are unique to Michigan (or at least the Midwest), including Superman and Blue Moon. Want to know what those flavors are? You’ll have to head to East Lansing to find out!  


2. University of Vermont- Burlington, Vermont 

You know them. You love them. You can’t walk down a grocery store ice cream aisle without reaching in and grabbing a pint or two (or five). Yes, I’m talking about our good friends Ben & Jerry. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is practically synonymous with Burlington. Fun fact: when my friends, both UVM alums, got married in Burlington, they had a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cart slinging mini ice cream cups—it was the best wedding dessert I’ve ever had! Ben & Jerry’s and UVM are both steeped in Burlington history. For its part, Ben & Jerry’s was born there in a renovated gas station, and has grown to be a global, ubiquitous ice cream empire. And since the 1970s, it has scooped its ice cream with an ever-present helping of vocal advocacy for social action and change. And as for UVM, originally named the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, was founded in Burlington in 1791, the same year Vermont became a state. But there is so much more to love about UVM’s ice cream scene than just its proximity to Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters (and countless scoop shops).  

As the flagship land-grant university of Vermont, UVM is chock full of animal, plant, and food science programs. This includes the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, where you’ll find that there is more to C.R.E.A.M. than meets the eye—here, it stands for the Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management—and essentially, it’s a student-run dairy herd with over 100 milking Holstein cows (the first image of a cow that comes to your mind is probably a Holstein). Friends, it doesn’t get much more local than that. The cool thing is that you don’t have to be an agriculture major to work with C.R.E.A.M.; you just have to love working with cows and not mind getting your hands a little dirty! If you’d rather admire the cows and the fruits of their labor from afar, head to the on-campus Dairy Bar, which serves its own Sweet CREAM flavor, as well as Proctor Maple Cream, made with real Vermont maple syrup. At UVM, the dairy-making history is almost as rich as the ice cream itself.  


3. Clemson University- Clemson, South Carolina 

In 2017, College Magazine named Clemson the #1 college for ice cream lovers, and it’s a proud distinction to this day. (Major shots fired at Wisconsin and Penn State.) It got that distinction from its on-campus scoop shop, the ’55 Exchange (named for a generous donation from the Class of 1955). One of the coolest features of Clemson’s ’55 Exchange is that it’s completely student-run. Step right up to the counter, and your handmade ice cream will be lovingly scooped by a fellow student. And the hands that made that handmade ice cream? Well, those belong to students in the Food Science and Human Nutrition program. They’re responsible for the flavor development, production, batching, and marketing of the ice cream. And it doesn’t get much more local than this. In fact, the production line is so small that it’s considered a “microcreamery”!  

The Food Science and Technology concentration is one of only a handful programs in the country to meet the Research Chef’s Association’s requirements to be receive the title of Culinology™. “Ice cream” and “nutrition” might not sound like they belong in the same sentence, but ice cream is just one application of what students learn. Sustainable farming practices, safe food packaging and distribution, and community health and wellness are just some of the topics students will engage in. Whether you want to study the science of ice cream, or just pursue ice cream-eating as a personal hobby, come down South to Clemson. Sure, the warmer temperatures might mean your ice cream has a higher melt risk, but that just means you have to eat it quicker!


Check out our 6 other college recommendations in our June 9 on 9 series:

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